Article by Ruth Marsh | 15 Feb 2006
The Escapologist
(Suspect Culture)

A very high-concept play, 'The Escapologist' draws its influence from Adam Phillip's comparative study of escapology and psychotherapy, 'Houdini's Box'. But the crucial problem here is that it never escapes the glibness of comparing feats of escape with the need to exit and find fear in our everyday modern malaise. Every point is laboured – having the stock psychotherapy trope of an inner child played by a real outer child is just plain naff – until just counting how many times the word 'escape' creeps into Simon Bent's script becomes the only distraction available. The staging is innovative, with the performers gamely working alongside shifting props and period projections, with Paul Blair in particular an engaging and watchable presence. But simply winching a straitjacketed man down from the lighting rig in the middle of an essentially bourgeois and staid drama – wife leaves therapist, wife leaves Bosnia-vet builder – does not experimental theatre make. [Ruth Marsh]
Tramway, Glasgow, Jan 13 and 14, 17-28.